Volunteering as a trustee – Rich’s story - Avenues Group
30 - 1993-2023

Volunteering as a trustee – Rich’s story

Tuesday 14th of February 2023

All charities rely on their trustees who make sure the organisation is doing what it promises for society. Rich Hodgson has been volunteering as a trustee for Avenues since 2021. He describes how the unpaid role gives so much back…

Photo of Rich Hodgson sat in the pews of a cathedral.Originally from rural Canada, a couple of hours from Toronto, accountant Rich moved to South London in 2009. Realising that he wanted to get involved in his new home community, he began to volunteer his time as a trustee for two local charities. The first was an arts charity in Brixton, where he used his financial skills supporting the project to rent its facilities with other community groups. He also delivered programmes for local young people including refugee families. The second organisation was a youth violence prevention charity, supporting the wellbeing of young people and their families during lockdown.

Rich says, “You’ll often hear this but I think it’s true – volunteering is so rewarding. It is that sense of making a positive difference and contribution to society, outside the paid day job and all that goes with it.”

Being part of something bigger

When the opportunity to join Avenues as a trustee arose, Rich was inspired to volunteer more of his time, helping more people across a larger geography. He says, “I did my research and liked what I saw. I love being involved with the two local charities but was excited to be part of something bigger. The breadth and depth of what Avenues does has certainly given me that.

“Charities come in all shapes and sizes and the way the trustee group operates will be different. I guess the thing that’s common to all is the fundamental purpose – trustees are there to make sure that charities are meeting their legal requirements and fulfilling their mission statement. It’s not a complicated responsibility, but one that we all have to be mindful of as it’s easy to become involved in the detail.

Exceptional support

“While Avenues is a big charity, I’ve always found the support is there for me to make that transition to helping a larger organisation. Avenues has a saying that ‘well-supported people support people well’, and I’ve found that also applies to new trustees. The help and assistance I’ve had from the leadership and admin teams have been exceptional.

“I’ve been able to feel confident to get involved in wider areas outside finance, from recruiting other new trustees to work around using new technology within our services. This is something I’m really excited by.

“Joining during the pandemic has been an interesting experience, but also allowed me to see what an incredible workforce Avenues, and the whole sector, has. The commitment and dedication of the organisation keeping people safe and well during the most precarious of times is awe inspiring.”

Could you volunteer as a trustee?

If you’re thinking about volunteering as a trustee, Rich’s advice is: “Go for it. You just need to be clear in your own mind about why you’re doing it and what you can offer. Also, consider what the charity expects in terms of your time, as each will be different. You can then start your journey as a trustee.

“I’m learning so much. There’s still much more for me to understand about Avenues and the social care sector as a whole. It’s just a great way to contribute to society and at the same time develop as an individual.”

Trustees at Avenues

Read more about our trustee board and how we’re governed.